updated 18-Mar-2021

Bouzoukis & Citterns

These are my favorites, both to build and play. Mostly they're used in Celtic music, but I like to play American fiddle tunes on them -- lots of fun!

There's no standard scale length, tuning, or nomenclature here. If it has a long scale length (about 25") and octave tuning on the lower courses, it's usually a"bouzouki". If it has a shorter scale length (about 22") and unison courses, it's an "octave mandolin". If it has 10 strings (normally but not necessarily short scale) it's a "cittern". Personally I don't like to play the long scale instruments because I'm a melody player, and the frets are too far apart for mandolin fingering. But the long scale gives a more complex, interesting sound.

Mandolas and mandocellos are in the "Mandolin Family" directory, not here.

All of them feature a bolt-on neck. This allows you, the user, to change the neck angle -- a task which normally requires a skilled technician, who must steam the neck joint to soften the glue. With the bolt-on neck, you can unbolt the neck yourself and change the angle of a shim to alter the neck angle.


Number 252 An arch top octave mandolin in walnut with Engelmann spruce top. $3700
Number 241 A basic flat top octave mandolin in curly maple with Sitka spruce top. $2200
Number 204 A guitar-body octave mandolin in lacewood with Sitka spruce top. $3400
Number 199 A 4-string octave mandolin in sycamore with red spruce top. $2900
Number 197 A deep back octave mandolin in African khaya with spruce top. $3500


The bouzoukis, citterns and octave mandolins in this gallery are either already sold or not for sale, but the photos may give you an idea of the range of body styles and ornamentation available if you choose to have an instrument custom made.

Click to view gallery